(ORLANDO, FL) - There are two questions on the minds of most American homeowners: when will the housing market finally start to rebound and how long will the current recession last? One person who understands these subjects as well as anybody is Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.
In a special one-on-one interview with the Real Estate Channel at this weekend's NAR national convention, Yun spoke candidly about the state of the U.S. housing market, the overall economy, and where both are headed.
In one of his bolder predictions, Yun predicts the housing market can rebound from its three-year slump and jolt the country out of its current recession during the second half of 2009, so long as the U.S. government implements a housing stimulus package of some kind.
"For the next six months we will have job losses, unfortunately," Yun told the Real Estate Channel. "I anticipate probably 1 million additional job losses. Now there is a discussion of an economic stimulus plan in Washington and I think some form of stimulus will be passed.
"Hopefully they concentrate on the sector that needs it most and will help revive the economy - and that's the housing sector.
"If there can be some stimulus to create additional buyers back into the marketplace I think the recession will be very short and mild. If the housing market continues to struggle then we could see a deeper recession. So for the next six months we will see job losses. After that it will depend upon what type of stimulus package. But assuming that it is focused on the housing, I think we can begin to see the economy turning around in the second half of 2009."
Specifically, the NAR, which is the country's largest trade association with 1.2 million members, is calling for Congress to take action on a "Four-Point Housing Stimulus Plan" presented to lawmakers and the administration last month. Among the plan's highlights, according to a Nov. 6 NAR press release: